Faith Identity

How Fruit Happens-Part 2 What a Bike Accident Taught Me How God Works Through Us

Accidents are called such because none of us schedule them. Diligent to keep up on my doctor-ordered weekly 150 minutes of cardio exercise, I often ride my bike in nicer weather. What was to be my last ride for the week became my last ride for about ten weeks! To this day I don’t know exactly what happened. All I know is my bike catapulted me forward! The Lord used that accident and recover to teach me some things about the way he works through us. This is part 2.

Galatians 5:22-25. ESV

“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”

Goodness.  

Another one of those beautiful words to describe God and his evidence in your life. Sin plays down goodness. It considers it naive, weak, lame. It’s why sin bullies and ultimately wants to cruicfy goodness. Goodness is pure, right, holy. It seeks good for you. In you. It ultimately builds godly character in you. We both know that no good dwells in our flesh apart from Christ. His abiding presence is your goodness. And yet how often we resist his good for us because we think our version of good is better?

When you yield to the Holy Spirit, you are in essence saying that God’s sovereign presence is working even in the unexpected, for your good, like bike accidents that essentially immobilize you. Every action God makes towards you is good and for your good. You abiding in Christ should aid you in your every action towards others as being motivated by good, not perfectly but increasingly so.

If you think goodness is lame and weak, you have been deceived into a false view of Christ. Goodness is not equated with a carefree life. It is all about the goodness of God using all things for your good and his glory.

Faithfulness.  

It’s such a traditional word. Mike is so faithful. Meaning, reliable, consistent, dependable. Yes, faithfulness can be such, but faithfulness is a result of being full of faith. With my disposition, I can be the glass half empty guy. I see the gaps, the holes, the reasons why something cannot work. Faith is not blind but it sees what human eyes can not. With faith we do not grow weary and lose heart. We trust God to be our hope, our life, even and especially amidst pain and recovery.

People call me faithful.  I hope it is because I have an increasing trust in God and not because I am simply a reliable guy. As I yield to the Holy Spirit, it’s my hope my faith is less tossed by life’s situations and more like a ballast in the boat keeping me upright in turbulent times; that my faith sees the awesome work of God amidst the weeds of humanity, making something awesome out of the here and now that ultimately glorifies God.

Faith built upon faith that is evident of a life lived in Christ. If Christ lives his life thru you, how faithful would you be?

Gentleness.  

Again, one of those seemingly softer sides of God. Our culture devalues gentleness and pushes for assertiveness instead. Transparency even in Christian circles comes with a brashness that elevates our brokenness without focusing on redemption. Gentleness is not timidity. Nor is it weakness. Gentleness is the amazing presence of the Holy Spirit searching our souls with the skill to discern down to the ‘nth degree what is sin to be cut away and what is precious life to protect and save.

Gentleness is the attentiveness of God himself on the soul of you. It’s rooted in grace. In God’s very essence.  When you are yielded to the Holy Spirit, gentleness will manifest itself in your speech, your demeanor, your actions. Less of a bull in a China shop and more of a pace of life that allows the gentle hand of God to be seen in you.

Satan likes to use tyranny of the urgent to squelch gentleness. “We don’t have time for that!” Whereas, gentleness is never passive-aggressive, it will sense God’s pace and proceed with grace. Lord, gentleness is you living your life thru me. I yield to you this day.

Self-control.  

Now that’s a word I can latch on to!  Being a fairly self-disciplined guy, self-control comes easy. Humanly speaking, I come across like a good Christian because I seem to have my act together. Or so it seems. A friend is trying to get his life turned around without Jesus. He’s doing a lot of environmental changes. Relational too. But, honestly, it won’t last. Human motivated change lacks eternal perspective. It lacks the greatest power to make real lasting change: God.

Holy Spirit self-control is totally opposite of human self-control. It comes from a totally different perspective on why self-control is important. Holy Spirit self-control values things from an eternal perspective instead of a short-term here-and-now perspective. Holy Spirit self-control looks at temptation in a different light than my human eyes do. Holy Spirit self-control desires to glorify God more than it does to please oneself. Instant gratification becomes less of a value for a person who is truly filled with Holy Spirit self-control.

I’d love to say that I have Holy Spirit self-control all the time. I do not. But what I increasingly have is a hunger to live for the Eternal as opposed to the here and now. And in that my hope and my faith is that Holy Spirit self-control is manifesting itself more and more in my choices. What kind of self-control are you living by?  You may desire Holy Spirit self-control but it’s never going to happen until you start yielding to the Spirit.

My bike accident taught me that! The cast on my right wrist. The limitations it put on me. There were times the cast itched so bad I wanted to rip it off! But, self-control, along with the host of other fruit of the Spirit whispered deep in my soul to lean into him; for healing, for His presence, for His life, in His time.

The last thing I’d wish on you is some accident. I desire the best for you! I also know God can use something like a bike accident to shape your spirit in a way that He does a holy, supernatural work in you that could not have been acheived otherwise. One of the biggest lesson’s learned is that yielding to the Spirit is never a solo-sport! Without others spurring me on and upholding me when I felt like quitting, who knows where I’d end up!

Keeping In Step with the Spirit

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 ESV

I recall high school marching band. Mr. Emmons was a stickler that we all kept in step with the music and each other. No halfway mediocre attempts at marching band at my school! All or nothing. Some band members hated him.  One was kicked off the team. Others diligently obeyed. In the end, our marching band won State awards and band spirit was contagious!

Do not think walking with Jesus is a solo journey. Yes, pursue Christ faithfully. You are responsible for your spiritual life.  But, also see walking in the Spirit as a part of living in uncommon community where transparency and vulnerability are healthy parts of a godly community. As we each walk with the Holy Spirit, we together make a bigger impact for the kingdom than we can solo.  

“Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another.”  This is part of walking in the Spirit. It’s reaching out to a fellow brother in Christ for help when faced with temptation. It’s reaching out for help when fear overwhelms you. We need each other to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Who are you walking with as you both keep in step with the Holy Spirit?

Three Key Helps in Walking with the Spirit

1. There is a direct correlation between being in the Word and walking in the Spirit. Consider your intake of God’s Word. We pursue the Word of God because it tells us of the living Word of God, Jesus.

2. Walk with Others. In 2009, British-expeditionist, Henry Worsley trekked to the South Pole with two other men. They reached the South Pole, which is situated 9000 feet above sea-level on a mountain at the bottom of the Earth.  They made history, achieving what Earnest Schackelton didn’t 100 years prior. In 2016, Worsley trekked to the South Pole, again, this time solo. He made history. He also died. There is something to be said about living in community, by the Spirit, that gives us the strength to endure what life throws at us.

3. Give credit where credit is due. Don’t take credit for what is actually God doing a work through you. If others find you more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good gentle faithful and self-controlled, give the credit to God. That is His work in you.

Warrior On!

David Riffel

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Mentoring Warriors, a 501c3 charitable organization committed to equipping men to mentor and preparing warriors (ages 18-30) for life. www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly-released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity. David has been an architect in professional practice for over 35 years.

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